The Mask

2014-07-19 12.34.39The Mask,
putting on a front,
disguising,
protecting,
hiding the reality.

I don’t want you to know me,
to see me
as I really am.
I want to pretend,
to show what I want,
to hide my vulnerability,
to protect the real me.

So I show you
this mask,
‘I’m fine’,
‘That’s great’,
‘If only you knew’ -
Don’t rock the boat.

Don’t let anyone see,
the pain,
the hurt,
the stress,
the truth.

Don’t let them touch
the scars,
the reality,
the story
that makes me who I am.

It’s not pretty,
but it’s me.

Can I?
Should I?
Let you see?
Look?
Ask?
Throw off  the mask?
Break the mould?
Let you see?

Will it hurt?
Will I be laughed at?
Gasped at?
Will you like what you see,
rather than the ornate cover?

Is that a risk I can take?
Or a reality that has to be lived?

Can we all live that way?
Face each other
in truth,
honesty,
reality.
Not hiding,
disguising our reality,
pretending;

but living,
loving,
supporting,
holding
one another,

in truth
and love

What Were You Expecting

John 6:16-29  (CEV)

Jesus Walks on the Water

16 That evening, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake.17 They got into a boat and started across for Capernaum. Later that evening Jesus had still not come to them, 18 and a strong wind was making the water rough.

19 When the disciples had rowed for three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He kept coming closer to the boat, and they were terrified. 20 But he said, “I am Jesus! Don’t be afraid!” 21 The disciples wanted to take him into the boat, but suddenly the boat reached the shore where they were headed.

The Bread That Gives Life

22 The people who had stayed on the east side of the lake knew that only one boat had been there. They also knew that Jesus had not left in it with his disciples. But the next day 23 some boats from Tiberias sailed near the place where the crowd had eaten the bread for which the Lord had given thanks. 24 They saw that Jesus and his disciples had left. Then they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. 25 They found him on the west side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so.”

28 “What exactly does God want us to do?” the people asked.

29 Jesus answered, “God wants you to have faith in the one he sent.”

Waiting in expectation,
waiting for Jesus to arrive.
What were we expecting?
Him to come in a boat?
The way we had?
The way that seemed obvious?

But that was not how it was,
not how Jesus came.

He walked,
through the choppy waters,
right to where we were
and climbed in our boat
with us.

He didn’t row alongside in his own boat,
however reassuring that might be,
he got into ours,
among us,
with us,
riding the storm.

It wasn’t what we expected,
we were terrified
of who and what was here,
but it was you.
You came to us
and together
we got
to the place we were headed.

Lord,
I have my expectations
of what you will do,
where we are going,
how you will work it;
may I be willing to let you surprise me
and steer me,
us,
to the place you are headed.
May I do it your way,
with you firmly on board.

I don’t need to be afraid,
trying to paddle my own boat,
for it is you,
you are here
with me.

The wind may blow
and the water be stirred,
but as I look
and wonder where you are,
you are here,
may I willingly take you on board
and let you steer

The Isolation of Chronic Illness

This is a processing post.

I was thinking this morning how long it is since I’ve seen an actual human being.  Then began to think back over how many I have seen in the last 10 days – it was less than five.  If you take out my family it was two – and one of them was my GP!  The other was a faithful friend who ‘gets it’ and knows how much I value contact.

You see, the problem with chronic illness is you can’t go out much.  You can’t think ‘I fancy doing’ and go and do it.  You can’t meet people for lunch, pop to the pub, go and mooch round the shops, or many other everyday activities – not easily and as a regular occurrence anyway.  You don’t reliably have the energy/someone to go with you to make it possible/the resources etc etc…  The actual wherewithal to just get out of the house may not be possible.  You can’t plan ahead because who knows if you’ll be having a good day or a bad day.  And actually once you get somewhere, you can’t stay long anyway!  Today, in desperation, I thought perhaps I’ll just take my book to the park to read for a change of scene.  But once I thought through if I could make it there, I remembered there probably wouldn’t be a seat comfortable enough for me to sit on.  I could take my own, but unless I want to sit in the car park, I’d have to carry it.  Hmmm… (and I know I’m lucky in that I can get out for brief excursions sometimes)

If you are ill with, for example, a cold or a broken leg it is for a short time.  You feel too ill to see anyone or do anything and when you’re better you’re back up and at ‘em; or you can amuse yourself, because after all, we all crave some rest, or have a box-set we’ve been desperate to have time to watch.  If you have a chronic illness, that goes on and on.  You continually cannot do what you want to.

Another aspect is that if you are, perhaps, in hospital, or ill at home for a time, people come to see you.  It is an abnormal event and people come to sympathise and cheer.  People cannot continually do that if you are chronically ill.  They cannot be expected to.  It is not an abnormal event but how life is.  Everyone is busy in their own life, they see lots of people day in day out – probably too many, and peace is what is craved.  And to be honest, though lovely to see them, sometimes even the effort of someone coming to see you is just too exhausting – it’s a vicious circle.

It’s also difficult to know if someone with chronic illness is ‘more ill than normal’, because you don’t always see them around anyway!  So how can anyone know that a situation needs responding to?

All of which adds to an isolated and isolating situation.

I don’t have any answers.  I guess I’m just waving a bit of a flag.  Does anyone else have any answers or suggestions?  I know it must be much worse for others.